What is a Flying Monkey?

In a divorce, a "flying monkey" is an ally your ex-spouse has won to their side. Often they start by driving a wedge between you and this person by subtly smearing your reputation over time. Below are some examples and at the bottom of this post are ideas of how to handle flying monkeys in your life.

Example: (Using fake concern to smear your reputation):

"My wife is the type who's overly emotional. I feel sorry for her. She's so fragile. She just can't deal with life. Please pray for her."


In a divorce, often an abusive or unfaithful spouse builds alliances with other people and expects loyalty. They might try to turn your friends, family, or church leaders against you.

Example (Using feigned ignorance and confusion to appear innocent, this is usually a sign of physical or emotional abuse):

"My wife has left me, and I have no idea why. She won't tell me. I've never cheated on her. Please pray she'll come back."


To be a "Flying monkey" means they also attack you, gossip about you, and tarnish your reputation, looking for praise and approval from your ex-spouse. They act as proxies or substitutes for your ex-spouse, accusing you of things your spouse cannot say publicly. These people allow your ex to have "clean hands" in the matter and claim they've never bad-mouthed you.


The idea of "flying monkeys" comes from the movie, "The Wizard of Oz," where swarms of hideous monkeys with wings operate at the command of the Wicked Witch of the West and do her bidding.


How To Respond to Flying Monkeys


Flying monkeys are friends, family, and even people at church who have been turned against you. Here are some ideas of how to deal with them.

  • —Realize that your ex has likely systematically undermined your credibility for a long time. He/she has probably convinced them that YOU are the problem. Your ex may even tell friends what to say if you defend yourself.
  • —Your friends are probably funneling vital information back to your ex. So be careful what you say. Don't tell them what you are contemplating or what you plan to do. Don't talk about your fears or your legal steps.
  • —For now, these friends are not safe. It may be best to put them on the back burner and reevaluate them in a year or so.
  • —Don't reveal your thoughts or feelings to them.
  • —Follow the J.A.D.E. formula: JADE is an acronym to remind you not to give unsafe people anything to twist or attack you with.Do not:
    • 1) J - Justify your actions
    • 2) A - Argue to prove you are right
    • 3) D - Defend yourself
    • 4) E - Explain why you did something

    It just gives them more opportunities to hurt you.

  • —Block them on your phone, email, and social media. This may not be forever, but it is for now.
  • —You do not need to respond to them. You can ignore their texts, messages, and emails.
  • —If you are required to interact with them legally (due to child custody issues) then use the Gray Rock method or Yellow Rock method of responding to them.

Are you going through a life-saving divorce and need support and clarity? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 4 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book on divorce for Christians and other people of faith, The Life-Saving Divorce: Paperback: https://amzn.to/3cF1j25  Or eBook: https://amzn.to/3CCBsnr

Also, sign up for my email list below or HERE www.lifesavingdivorce.com/courage






Start Here



Does God Hate Divorce? God Gave Divorce Due to Hardhearted Abusers & Betrayers


Physical and Emotional Abuse & Infidelity


God Allows Divorce to Protect Victims


How to Find a Good Supportive Church


What If My Pastor Says It Would Be Wrong to Get Divorced for Abuse?



Divorce Saves Lives: The Surprising (Wonderful!) Truth About Divorce Nobody Told You

Will I Ever Find Love Again? Dating After Divorce: Good News

Finding Happiness and Health After Divorce


Thriving After Divorce: These Christians Tell their Stories

Self-Doubt, Second-Guessing Ourselves, and Gaslighting


Children and Divorce: Researchers Give Hope


High Conflict Divorce and Parenting


Recommended Reading List and Free Resources for Christians and Other People of Faith


Common Myths






GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, family-impairing addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



Sign up for the Life-Saving Divorce email list. (You can unsubscribe at any time.)